Some of this conversation actually took place last month while I was in Vegas for a bachelor-party weekend:
Me, approaching cashier: I want to place a wager on the New York Mets winning the 2008 World Series. What are their current odds?
Cashier: How much do you want to wager?
Me: Well, that's a good question. Let's see. During the season I watch each game, plus a bit of pregame and at least a bit of the wrapup afterwards. So that's about four hours a day. Then I probably spent two more hours worrying about them if they've lost or exulting if they've won. And, I dunno, throw in another two hours checking news, blogs and various Internet chatter, and of course writing this blog. That's what, eight hours a day for half the year? In the offseason I usually think about the Mets for about two hours a day, I guess. It was probably only an hour a day during this latest offseason, but that's because I was really busy and mad at them and didn't want to think about that absurd contract they gave Luis Castillo or why in hell they traded Lastings Milledge. But I did TiVo a bunch of Met classics and watched the '69 Series games with my kid. So I dunno, let's say 90 minutes a day during the offseason. I'd have to put a value on that, which isn't easy to –
Cashier: Sir –
Me: And of course what I'd put onto the table would extend far beyond this year. I mean, I still think about '86 and '88 and '99 and '00 and '06 and every other year that's not so easily pinned to extra games in October. I'm still fuming about 2007, after all. I can work myself into snit subconsciously while working on something and not realize for 20-odd minutes that I've been fuming about Benitez letting Paul O'Neill get on base or Reyes's drive not quite getting over Edmonds' head or Gl@v!ne hitting freaking Dontrelle Willis. So you're talking hours and hours and hours into the future when I'll be thinking about the 2008 Mets, for better or worse.
Cashier: Sir, if I could –
Me: And what about the Mets' effect on the rest of my life? Like making plans around day games, or arranging my life so I can at least have my little radio in one ear, or the fact that Emily and I got married on September 30th so our anniversary would never conflict with a playoff game. That ought to be worth something, right?
Cashier: In fact –
Me: And then there's all the stuff. I mean, I don't go to as many games as I used to, though Joshua will be nearly six by season's end, and he can now sit through an entire game without getting too horribly wiggly. But I'll go to a bunch, and hopefully there'll be a lottery for postseason tickets, and I'll beg my friends to remember me if they win and I don't. And there are all the baseball cards I collect, and The Holy Books in which anybody who's ever been a Met gets enshrined. And shirts for Joshua and caps for us — do you know how much we spent last year when Joshua announced what he really wanted was pictures of David Wright and Jose Reyes in the same frame? And books if there are new books. And blog server costs, right? Mustn't forget about those.
Cashier: Sir –
Me: I know I'm just scratching the surface, but that's a start. So, I hope you were keeping track of all that. How many hours is that, and how shall we value those hours now and into the future for as long as I live? And the cards and caps and the rest of the stuff? Do we amortize that, or what? Look, I know this is complicated — however you want to value all this, I trust your judgment.
Cashier: Look, buddy –
Me: And if they don't win, that's OK. Well, as long as it's not like 2007, it'll be OK.
Cashier: I've been trying to tell you. All we take here is cash. Not your eight hours of thinking a day, or the daydreaming, or the time spent watching the games, or the social and economic toll of rearranging your life around a baseball team, or the value of the tickets and the baseball cards and all the stuff, or your stupid blog costs. Just money, pal. Cash on the wood.
Me: Oh. Really? Gee, that seems kind of mercenary.
Me: Huh. OK. Fifty bucks then.
Cashier: You got it. Here's your stub.
Me: Oh, and $20 on the 2008 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They're a 150-to-1 shot!
Cashier: And how much unquantifiable crap do you have vested in them that you need to tell me about?
Me: The Devil Rays? Ha! What am I, insane?